Commissioner Adam Silver told players in a conference call on Friday that it would be safer to restart the season in one or two “bubble” cities, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.
Las Vegas and Orlando are the main options to resume to play in both conferences, though Silver has received inquiries from numerous city officials about hosting the remainder of the season, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.
A decision to resume the season doesn’t have to be made this month or at the beginning of June, Wojnarowski adds. If the NBA tries to finish the season, there’s no expectation that fans will be in the stands, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Silver cautioned the players that there will always be a measure of risk until a vaccine is developed for the novel coronavirus.
There’s also the possibility that fans will not be allowed in the arenas next season until a vaccine is readily available, Wojnarowski relays in another tweet. That will obviously impact finances, since the league generates approximately 40% of its revenue through fans attending games, Silver told the players. The league is working on creative ways with its TV partners to deliver the games to audiences, Wojnarowski adds.
There is real concern on both sides about the financial hardship caused by the pandemic. Michele Roberts, the executive director of the Players’ Association, broached that subject on the call with Silver. Silver said that the CBA “wasn’t built for an extended pandemic,” calling it “the greatest challenge” of our lifetime, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
Silver is hopeful of conducting seven-game series for each playoff round, particularly if there is no travel involved, according to Wojnarowski. The commissioner also told the players that he believes the owners unanimously want to resume the season, despite the fact that there might be some financial advantages to canceling if there will be no fans in the seats (Twitter link).